The Benefits of Being Scared: A Quiet Place

by | Apr 11, 2018 | News Room, Stories

On Sunday, I braved the unusual Missouri spring snow and headed to a local movie theater to see A Quiet Place. It was visually stunning, thoughtful, smart, and original. It is also poised to be one of the best movies of the year and roared to a $50 million opening at the box office this past weekend.

Before you tell me no, just listen.

I know, I know.

“It looks scary.”

“It looks creepy.”

“I don’t like scary movies.”

It is scary, and it is creepy, but not in the traditional sense, well not completely. A Quiet Place is a well thought out thriller that examines the responsibilities of parenthood and the lengths we will go to protect our family. It is also nearly completely silent except for the stellar score.

A Quiet Place is directed by John Krasinksi of The Office fame and stars both he and his wife, Emily Blunt. You find the Abbott family living on a farm, trying to survive a trio of indestructible monsters which are attracted to sound.

Did I mention that even the smallest sound could cause you to be lunch?

With nearly no dialogue, you can literally hear a pin drop and the smallest crunch of a popcorn kernel sounds like the crashing of fine china. The theater is silent. And I must tell you, it’s refreshing.

A Quiet Place requires your attention and yes, you will be scared. Throughout the film, you know sound is bad and you will adjust your breathing, sit completely still, and glare at your neighbor when their candy unwrapping puts your sanity in danger. Don’t expect cheap scares and indulgent, gory scenes – it isn’t that kind of movie. The terror comes from the unknown and the constant battle to avoid making a sound.

Have you ever tried to keep your children quiet?

According to article, Why Being Horrified Is Healthy: 3 Remarkable Powerful Benefits of Feeling Fear, when your brain identifies a threat, your hypothalamus is triggered, thus letting the rest of your body know to prepare for what is about to come your way. After this process, adrenaline is released by your adrenal gland. Adrenaline alerts your nervous system to wake up and transition into survival mode. In addition, norepinephrine is also released and attempts to keep you focused during a stressful situation and helps fight off panic.

Jake Deutsch, MD, an emergency physician in New York, says norepinephrine “allows clearer thinking under stress, which is precisely why it’s used in many antidepressants.”

If you feel like you need to think clearly, getting scared might help!

Furthermore, a good scare can increase blood circulation. Gillian Mohney, former reporter for ABC News and current breaking news editor for Healthline, writes in her article Spooky Health Effects of a Good Scare, “When faced with a threat, the body will instantly start sending blood to vital organs and muscles to help with either a potential fight or flight.” As we get older, efficient blood circulation is critical to a healthy lifestyle.

Lastly, according to Paul Yellin, MD, director at The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education in New York City, “Anxiety can be a sign that we’re facing a threat, but it can also be a sign of something that’s important that’s in front of us.” Clinical psychologist Steve Orma says, “If you didn’t have any emotion in that situation, it would have no meaning for you.”

Essentially, use the feelings and benefits fear provides for a greater purpose! Fear adds focus and clarity to your life, improves blood circulation, and allows you to identify threats and formulate a response. Fear is necessary.

Not only is A Quiet Place an adventure, but it provides a unique and memorable moviegoing experience that is unusual in today’s world. I assure you, you’ve never experienced anything like this film and you’ve certainly not experienced silence like this.

A word of advice? Skip the popcorn this time – they might hear you.

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